Sunday, November 15, 2009

'The Stack And Tilt Swing' Book Review

The Stack and Tilt Golf Swing was developed by former mini-tour golfers Mike Bennett and Andy Plummer. After years of hard work and research, they came up with the Stack and Tilt pattern as a way to hit the ball with power and accuracy on a consistent basis.

The S&T pattern is actually based in large part from Homer Kelley's 'The Golfing Machine' book and system as well as Mac O'Grady's M.O.R.A.D. system (Mac O'Grady Research And Development). In fact, if you want to develop a golf swing instruction 'family tree', it would look something like this:


The book is very well done from a publishing standpoint. It's a very easy read with plenty of quality pictures. There's very little technical jargon, and almost no TGM jargon. I've heard some reviews say that TGM people are complaining about the lack of TGM terminology, but I have yet to come across a TGM golfer who has said that.

In other words, nobody cares because we can all agree it's not the jargon, but the concepts, mechanics and alignments that matter.

Basically what I got about the S&T pattern is that it's very much a methodology that tries to enable the golfer to hit a consistent draw with the ball by utilizing 6 basic components:

1. Weight Forward throughout the swing.

2. Upright Shoulder Turn.

3. Inside Hand Path.

4. A straight, but not locked, back leg at the top of the swing.

5. Arms straight for as much as possible in the swing.

6. Butt under the Torso in the follow thru and finish.

I don't believe the book asserts this clearly enough, nor do I feel the S&T guys assert this clearly enough when discussing the pattern with other knowledgeable golfers, is that Plummer and Bennett basically believe that every great ballstriker has at least one of the components listed above. A golfer like Charlie Wi can utilize all 6 components or somebody like Nicklaus may use 2 or 3 of these components.

I thought Plummer and Bennett did a good job of explaining the components, why they work and examples of golfers who use these components. Furthermore, they did an excellent job of focusing on the physics and geometry that cause the ball flight behavior as well as going thru a protocol to develop a S&T pattern as well as helping the reader troubleshoot some of the problems they may have.

However, there were certain issues I had with some of the text in that I either disagreed with it or thought the reasoning was a little off.

For instance on page 22 the claim is made:

Setting more weight on the front foot at address helps you accomplish two things: You'll hit the ground after the ball, and you won't cut across the ball from out to in through impact.
From what we know from Trackman, if you put your weight forward you increase your Angle of Attack (AoA) which helps move the 'true path' further inside-to-out. However, a golfer can put their weight forward like suggested in the S&T book and still greatly struggle with cutting across the ball, but they are now more likely to hit a hook instead of a slice because their AoA has increased.
I also think that they probably should dedicate a section with clear diagrams just to ball flight laws and showing how the Face Angle and Club Path dictate ball flight behavior. Hell, I honestly think that most 10 handicappers really don't understand what an 'inside-to-out' or an 'outside-to-in' path really is. Something along the lines of picture the made on page 5 of a golfer hitting the ball first, then taking a divot in contrast to a high handicapper taking a divot behind the ball would have sufficed when it comes to ball flight laws.

The only other criticisms that could be made is that it could have been made more clear that you don't have to incorporate each one of those 6 components listed earlier on in this post and can instead use whatever ones you would like to help address certain problems. I think that's where the disconnect is between the S&T guys and knowledgeable golf swing experts in that people tend to assume that the golfer needs to use every one of the 6 components and usually arguments ensue.

For example, I'm not the biggest fan of keeping the weight forward throughout the swing. I think it's good for lesser players who have way too much weight on the rear foot at impact or the golfer that really 'moves off the ball' in the backswing. But for a better golfer that does a decent job of keeping their torso centered in the backswing, I don't think it's necessary. And while the book doesn't go into it, I firmly believe that most golfers can learn to hit up on the driver and greatly increase distance while being quite accurate whereas the S&T guys pretty much want a 'flat hit' of 0.0* or less with the driver.

In conclusion, I enjoyed the book. But I find it better meant for the better, but less knowledgeable golfer since it brings up concepts that less knowledgeable golfers may never have heard of before. The issue with the lesser golfer taking this book to heart is that I believe they would struggle making the adjustment to the Stack and Tilt without a certified S&T teacher helping them out. The lesser golfer doesn't have the knowledge nor the muscle awareness golf wise to make a seamless transition thru a book.

This is a far better book than your other popular golf instruction methodology books because it addresses what causes ball flight, has a curriculum to develop the pattern and has a troubleshooting section.

I would recommend this for golf teachers, if anything to fully understand a pattern that students may be interested. But it can also be helpful for instructors to understand how the components can be used to help out their students. For the average amateur golfer, I feel the book works best for the 10 or better handicap players looking to take their ballstriking to a better level.



Anonymous said...

First; thank you for reading the book and sharing your insights.

Could you say something about the difference between S&T and Sevam1 method. Just in the area of Pivot stacking and weight shift. I'm aware that Sevam1 has much of the weight on the rear leg through impact and then a shift occurs. Does stack and Tilt do the same, or is their weight over the Forward Leg?

Rich H. said...

S&T has the weight 55/45 towards the front leg throughout the swing. Sevam's method pretty much has the weight 50/50, pre-torques the feet and has the golfer basically drive off the right side with that pre-torqued foot. Sevam's method is very much based in footwork and lowering the golfer's Center of Gravity more towards the ground. The S&T is more based on doing things to hit a consistent draw with the ball and making the golfer have a more consistent low point in their swing.

Again though, the weight forward throughout the swing is just one component of the S&T. The guys on Tour often take a few components of the S&T, but not all of them. I wish the book would've emphasized that. So you don't necessarily need to have the weight forward to benefit from reading the book.

Anonymous said...

Actually sevam1 does Hogan, but loads right foot more in the bsw. Anyhow, both sevam1's and BH's swings use very balanced rotation where "center of gravity" moves very little until through impact to the balanced finish. No concious weight transfer. On the other hand, no keeping weight on the front foot like in st&tilt method.
I personally prefer BH style.